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Focusing on the positive

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ok, so I will start with a quote again, and then give my reflections:

"Things to stop doing to yourself ...
Stop focusing on what you donít want to happen.
Ė Focus on what you do want to happen. "
-Erik Ledin, Lean Bodies Consulting

Ok, so here's the deal. I have made it to my goal weight. This is great, right? Of course it is. OF COURSE IT IS!!!

So why do I keep focusing on my fear of gaining it back in the future? Why am I afraid that my dedication to healthy eating and exercising will disappear? I am still logging, I am still eating yummy, healthy food that I love, I am continuing to exercise and loving that, too. I am getting stronger, and have even gained a little muscle (I have actually gained about 3 pounds on purpose, and am happy with my appearance).

So, why the fear? It is like this annoying, nagging little voice in my head that tells me I won't be able to keep this up.

I have several mantras that I use to help me when I feel like stress eating, and they have worked so far.
They are:
1. "what are you hungering for?" If it is food, fine, choose something healthy. If it is not food, figure out how to satisfy the boredom, fatigue, stress, or whatever else is making me feel like eating a Godiva truffle at that moment.
2. "Make good choices." Through the many choices I make each day, whether it is what to eat, when to go to sleep, how to speak to those around me, etc, this is my mantra. If I make a less than ideal choice, my next choice can be better, too. One bad choice does not have to unravel into a day of bad choices.

So there. I can do this. What I want is to stay healthy, active and strong. What I want is to deal with my emotions head-on, and what I want is to make choices, both big and small, that I am proud of. That is me focusing on what I want to happen, rather than what I don't want to happen.

I got this :)


Effort and Surrender

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

"What is your intention?"

This is a question that a lot of my yoga teachers ask at the beginning of class.

An intention is different from a goal; it is more of an idea, or a theme. It is about process, and it is a lens through which to examine and experience your journey.

So, today, before my yoga class, I asked myself what my intention was. I even wrote it down in my workout log book; Effort and Surrender.

The idea of the ebb and flow relationship of effort and surrender has really resonated with me lately. I have seen several Facebook quotes from friends about this topic in the past few days, and the idea has been with me as I have struggled to set goals (see my previous blog post).

It is not a new idea.

I have had yoga teachers talk about this theme before, usually in the context of finding the alignment in the pose, and then finding the ease in surrendering to the benefits of the pose once you are aligned.

I learned about effort and surrender in SCUBA certification. They teach you to"plan your dive and dive your plan." Planning the dive is effort, and then diving your plan is the surrender to your plan, knowing that your plan was based on logical, rational choices.

Tony Horton, in his P90X videos, often says, "Do your best and forget the rest." Kind of an effort/surrender mantra, really.

The notion of effort and surrender also comes up in Eastern philosophy. There is a notion that if you take care of the present impeccably, the future will take care of itself. In other words, if I make good choices now, I don't have to deal with the consequences of bad choices later. But it also is about detaching yourself from the results. If you do the right thing today, your goal will be achieved tomorrow, but it is not really about achieving the goal, it is about the journey to get there.

So what did my intention mean for me today on the mat? Well, it meant that I brought my authentic self to the mat, that I was aligned myself in each pose, using proper technique, etc. I did my best. I brought my A game. But I was also surrendered any preconceived notions about how well I would "perform" in class. Instead, I set the intention of surrendering to the practice; to the lessons to be learned from my teacher, from the poses, from my body, and from my inner teacher.

In practical terms, it meant that I found myself in full Hanumanasana at the end of class. Normally, that is a pose that aggravates me. It is a posed I USED to be able to do, when I was younger, but has been elusive for several years. But I followed my teacher's alignment instructions, did all the prep poses, and decided to enjoy the journey, no matter what shape the outer form of the pose took. And suddenly, there I was, all the way in the pose, heart lifted, with a huge smile on my face. I brought my A game. I did the prep work. I aligned myself. And then I surrendered. By surrendering my tight grip on my goal to get back to Hanumanasana, I found myself there. Wow!!! It was a moment. My breath was full, my body felt awesome, and I was so happy.

So what does this mean for life off of the yoga mat?

I am a type A, goal-setting kind of gal. Sometimes I will try to blaze towards an ill-conceived goal, with fierceness and determination, possibly causing damage to myself or others along the way, because, gosh darnit, I set that goal and I am going to achieve it.

There is nothing wrong with bringing your A game and setting goals. But sometimes I need to surrender. I need to loosen that tight grip on my goals, and listen to the cues I get along the way to achieving the goal. If the goal is wrong, there are signals (for me, insomnia, irritability, even depression). Sometimes the path to a goal is circuitous; the scenic route. And sometimes that circuitous route goes to the original goal anyway, with a better ride to get there. But occasionally, the destination is a surprise. The beauty of pulsing with effort and surrender is that your surrender shapes your effort in ways you never expect, sometimes bringing you to a greater destination than you ever thought possible.

Sometimes it is about reclaiming a yoga pose that you used to be able to do, but that really is just a metaphor. There have been so many great joys in my life that I never could have anticipated or planned.

So there you have it.
I will bring my "A" game to the table, but I will listen along the way.
I will still set goals, but I will be open to learning lessons on the journey, and I will allow the goal to be revised or scrapped if the journey is telling me that is what needs to happen.
I will do my best, and forget the rest.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PAPAMIKIE 8/30/2012 10:03AM

    Tai Chi and Chi running are both about intention rather than goals. That is obvious with Taiji, but perhaps a little foreign to most runners. Even in learning my Tai Chi Form we are taught to understand and think about the Martial Intent. To understand the physical activations and the healing intent of the movements. Tai Chi is about a moving meditation.

It has changed a lot about how I go through the world and through my day.

Things like yoga and Tai Chi Chuan are practices rather than goal oriented activities and teach one to act with intension.

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CHRISTINASP 5/28/2012 3:02PM

    "I will do my best, and forget the rest. "
That's a very good one to remember.

Comment edited on: 5/28/2012 3:02:57 PM

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Choosing the right goals

Thursday, May 03, 2012

So, I entered maintenance mode about 6 weeks ago.
I am at my goal weight. Woo Hoo!
For the 6 months prior to that, I was strongly committed to my goal of fat loss. Now that I achieved it, what do I do next? Maintenance, of course, is a great goal, but there is not an end point. I understand that, of course, and of course, I enjoy the journey. I could not achieve a goal if the journey to get there was unpleasant to me.

But still, I would like a goal! Kind of a mid-term goal, to keep me fired up.

Do I work at building muscle?
Do I train for a mud obstacle course?

These are both thoughts I have had, but they seem to be at cross-purposes to each other. And both, unfortunately, feel risky to me. Building muscle would require me to bump up my calories to gain, but I know I would gain some fat, too. Not sure I am ready for that. Traditional "bulking" programs limit cardio, and I don't want to lose endurance.

Training for the mud obstacle course feels really scary to me! I hate to run, and I fear running. It bothers my asthma, and I have finally recovered from a knee injury. I don't want to reinjure that knee. In addition, if I did a lot of running, I fear that I would lose more muscle! It seems to me that running burns calories, not just in the form of fat stores, but also at the expense of lean muscle.

So, I decided to go back to that first goal; building more muscle.

I looked at what I like to do (eat healthfully, lift weights, a little yoga, some interval cardio), and decided that is a good goal to take on.

I just got the book "New Rules of Lifting for Life."

This is a great book for the middle-aged. And I am middle-aged now (as much as I hate to admit it!)

I love that this book focuses on weight training, healthy eating, and endurance through metabolic training. It also focuses on balance, flexibilty, power and agility. These are all things that are important to me.

So, I am going to follow this book for the next 6 months, and see where it takes me. I am going to keep my calories at maintenance or just slightly above (no more than 100 or so calories per day), track my measurements and how my clothes fit, and see how it goes.

I love having a good goal :)


Great quote I saw today!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A great one from Scott Abel~

"You keep failing at your attempted transformation because you keep missing the central component of it by looking in the wrong place. You must, and have to - learn to love the body you have, while on the journey to acquiring the body you want. No one can SELF-HATE their way to an improved life! - not physically, not mentally, not emtionally."

This is so true for me!

I am in new territory; after being on a weight loss journey on and off for the past 8 years, I have been at my goal weight for 2 months! The weight lost and gained and lost and gained and lost again is not extreme (25 pounds between my peak weight and my current weight), but in past years, it has been all wrapped up in guilt and frustration along the way. At various points through these past 8 years, I have felt mad at my body. I have injured myself from pushing too hard in my workouts, beat myself up for indulging in food, etc.

As I maintain for real this time, I realized that my most recent weight loss finally came from the right place.

On August 31, 2011, I decided to start taking care of myself in order to feel and be more vibrant. It wasn't about an event or physical appearance; it was about getting the most out of my life. I did it with so much less drama this time. I just decided to change and did it. I lost 15 pounds over 6 months. I didn't starve myself (averaged a 250 calorie deficit per day), I exercised appropriately, took rest days when needed, and didn't beat myself up if I deviated a little a little from my plan, just got back on track and lived the best choices I could in each moment. What a breath of fresh air; for my happiness and for those who live with me!

My body feels great and strong. I get compliments on how I look, but I get as many or more comments about how happy I look. And I am happy!

So, as I move forward, I am just going to keep doing the same things. I will be eating an average of 250 more calories a day, but other than that, the plan remains the same.
Love my body and what it can do today.
Make the best choices I can in each moment.
If I make a choice that is not the best, my next choice can still be a good one.
Listen to my body, and don't push it past its limits. Push hard in exercise when I feel strong; take a break if I feel tired.
Eat food that tastes good AND fuels my body and my life.
And live my life with joy and love.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

OBNURSE3 4/22/2012 2:03PM

    Love It!

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STUDLEEJOE 4/21/2012 10:26AM

    Great quote and plan

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CAT609 4/21/2012 9:04AM

    Wow, bravo! I like it. What a true quote. emoticon

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WELLNESSME09 4/21/2012 8:53AM

    emoticon quote! emoticon

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